Adams peak is a 2,243 metre high mountain in the hill country of Sri Lanka. This mountain is a very iconic Buddhist religious site as it is where Buddha took his last step on Earth before entering Nirvana. Buddhist pilgrims of every age from all over Sri Lanka will make this challenging climb in order to show their dedication to the religion.
We arrived in Dalhousie (the starting point of the climb) at around 4pm and quickly realised that Adams Peak was the main reason for its existence. Stalls full of snacks, toys and warm layers for the climb were all that was around. After a quick tea in the hostel of rice and curry we thought we should get some rest ready for our 2.30am start!
We left the room bang on 2:30am and to our surprise there were many others also starting the climb at this hour. As we had done a few climbs in Ella we felt confident that this climb would not be too challenging… how wrong we were! The first half an hour was fairly easy, a small incline past statues of Buddha and many tea houses to keep you going through the night, this lulled us into a false sense of security. As we continued further the tea houses became more sparse and we were faced with a 2.5 hour long wall of stairs. The route was lit which made for a pretty, yet daunting path of lights leading up to the top, which never seemed to get any closer! Finally at 5.30 am we made it to the top. A small temple housing Buddha’s last step and fellow, now freezing climbers greeted us. We now had an hours wait until the promised beautiful sunrise. One cold hour later and a crack of cloud parted allowing an orange gleam of light through – the cloud quickly removed all trace of this and we began the 2 hour downstairs clamber – Tom’s elderly knees struggling on every step. Despite the early start, cold and cloud, the climb gave us a real sense of achievement, and the views on the descent in the fresh morning light were breathtakingly beautiful. We were also greeted by monkeys at the bottom with 1960s Beatles hair cuts.
A warm shower and a breakfast of coconut sambol, dhal and rotti soon removed the weary feelings of our early morning adventure and we were ready to start our day.